By Annagail Lynes
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] would watch Dan sing in choir. He would tease me at lunch. He kissed me on the cheek. Bought me my first flower given to me by a guy. He babysat the flour sack child that I had to carry around for Family Living class and claimed to be the father. He even told me he loved me. Little did I know that he say that to all the girls. I was in love with him.
Seven years later, a guy is sitting at the bar in my local Denny’s. He says, “Hey, isn’t your name Ann? I think we went to high school together.”
I am staring at him, drawing a blank. He had to tell me his name before I remembered.
Was I in love with him? No. Not now and not then. I just thought I was.
What is the difference between love and mere infatuation, or a crush?
With Dan, I had that weak-in-the-knees, heart-pounding kind of feeling. I loved to hear him talk, and I develop interests just to be close to him. But within months, the feeling faded.
Infatuation, as defined by the Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, “1. to make foolish; affect with folly; deprive of sound judgment. 2. to inspire with a foolish and extravagant passion.”
One word keeps coming up in that definition: foolish. Infatuation deprives you of sound judgment.
I knew that Dan was seeing my friend Amy, but it didn’t stop me from wishing it was me he was dating instead of her. In fact, I felt angry with Amy for dating him. After all, she was supposed to be my friend.
My infatuation with Dan muddied my thinking. I wasn’t thinking rationally. All I kept thinking was that she had what I wanted almost as if he were an object instead of a person.
I would lie awake at night and rehearse what I had said to him. I would cringe, realizing afterward, when it was too late to take my words back, how foolish I sounded.
What is love then?
The writer of I Corinthians 13 puts it this way: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (verses 4-9 NIV).
This is God’s definition of love. And anything less than this is not true love. If the person you are supposedly in love with keeps a record of who is right and who is wrong, that is not love. When he is happy when something bad happens to you, that isn’t love. Does he just think about himself? That is not love.
A great example of the difference between love and infatuation is found in the movie, Princess Diaries.
Mia, the princess-in-training who is being groomed to run the country of Genovea, is infatuated with this guy who is dating the head cheerleader. When he finds out that Mia is a princess, he suddenly notices her and asks her out to a beach party. He acted like a jerk, always thinking about himself. Poof! After that night, her feelings for him vanished.
She realized that all along there was a different guy, Michael, who loved her. He offered to do free labor on her car. He even told her the truth when she really needed to hear it. At the end, when she picks him to dance with at the ball, he asks, “Why me?”
“Because you saw me when I was invisible,” she replied.
That’s true love. When a person sees you for who you are and still loves you, faults and all.
Infatuation is something that you will grow out of whereas love is something that grows over time.
People, especially celebrities, go on talk shows. When asked why their marriages and relationships broke up they say one of two things: “we grew apart” or “we fell out of love.”
Both phrases are indications that they don’t understand the difference between love and infatuation.
Love is not a feeling. It is a choice. You choose to love someone, and your feelings will catch up with your decision.
Infatuation is that knee-wobbling, heart-pounding, take-your-breath-away feeling. And once that’s gone, what are you left with? If you haven’t develop a relationship, a friendship, with this person, to build on, you are left with nothing.
Without a solid knowledge of what love is, you will be faltering from relationship to relationship, never settling in one.
Remember God’s definition of love. Anything that doesn’t resemble I Corinthians 13:4-9 is infatuation and should be showed the door. You don’t deserve infatuation. You are a Child of God. A Child of The King of Kings. You deserve true love. Don’t settle for anything less than the best God has for you.
Annagail Lynes can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org